Saturday, July 7, 2012

Support Con Ed Workers: Building Rank and File Bridges Between Public and Private Unions

GEM banner at Union Protest at Verizon, Aug. 2011

 Solidarity NOT Forever to Verizon Installer:  When I tried to make the connection between private and public worker unions to the Verizon union guy he balked. "That's a different story." In his view we have way too much and should be curbed.

Now new mommy Julie Cavanagh reps Rank and File Teachers at press conf (next to Patrick Sullivan)- Aug. 2011

There are some very good reasons for rank and file teachers to support other strikers even in the private realm. Which is why if you can make it (sorry I can't) Join MORE on the Con Ed picket lines: Sat, July 7th 12 noon union square.

I don't mean union leadership and their crew of people like Mulgrew and top union officials joining events (which they do) -- not union leadership to union leadership -- but real school workers working hand in hand with other workers. I wrote about the amazing reception the MORE teachers received on Thursday from Con Ed workers. MORE Members Support Con Ed Workers on Picket Line

That action was organized on very short notice and many MORE people are away. Expect more people to be there today.

I recently had Verizon Fios installed and the installer spent the entire day doing it. He is a union member and was on strike last year. He complained about the union leadership and how they still have no contract. "We never should have gone back. We were sold out," he said.

Sounds pretty militant, right? But he views public unions as a different story, as I described above.

I told him how last year GEM, ICE, NYCORE and Teachers Unite people had walked the picket lines with them and helped organize the protest outside the August 2011 PEP meeting. Many Verizon workers joined us inside after the rally and called for the PEP to reject an outrageous contract they were handing Verizon.

I'm sorry word of our support didn't reach this guy --- and I suspect it would not have changed his mind. He seemed right out of Faux FOX casting. He view helps explain Wisconsin.

Here are links to Ed Notes stories and videos on the actions with Verizon last August (2011) when my writing was still limited by my broken wrist.

 Press conference Tuesday to demand Verizon pay bac...
AFTERBURN: Only one of the reasons for MORE

You'll notice that I had to mention multiple groups last year - GEM, ICE, TJC, NYCORE, Teachers Unite -- did I leave anyone out? MORE is an outgrowth of a two year attempt to bring some sense if unity and purpose to all the groups. While most of them still exist, they have moved some of their activities into the MORE sphere. MORE is really only months old and people are just getting to know each other, so the process moves in fits and starts. And the still-existing groups are feeling their way as to what makes sense for them to do in the evolving conditions. One thing I will say -- it gives all of us a lot more people who can get things done rather than duplicating the efforts in multiple groups. I still see ICE playing a role due to its experience and GEM focusing on charters, high stakes testing and making films.

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